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Comelec vs Conrado Cruz et.

al November 20, 2009

Facts: The present petition seeks a review of the RTCs decision granting the petition of the respon-
dents on declaring Section 2 of Republic Act (RA) No. 9164 (entitled An Act Providing for Syn-
chronized Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections, amending RA No. 7160, as amended,
otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991) unconstitutional:
Sec. 2. Term of Office. The term of office of all barangay and sangguniang kabataan offi-
cials after the effectivity of this Act shall be three (3) years
No barangay elective official shall serve for more than three (3) consecutive terms in the
same position: Provided, however, That the term of office shall be reckoned from the 1994
barangay elections. Voluntary renunciation of office for any length of time shall not be considered
as an interruption in the continuity of service for the full term for which the elective official was
elected.
Antecedent: Before the October 29, 2007 Synchronized Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK)
Elections, some of the then incumbent officials of several barangays of Caloocan City filed with the
RTC a petition for declaratory relief to challenge the constitutionality of the above-highlighted pro-
viso, based on the following arguments:
1. The term limit of Barangay officials should be applied prospectively and not retroactively.
2. Implementation of paragraph 2 Section 2 of RA No. 9164 would be a violation of the
equal protection of the law.
3. Barangay officials have always been a political.
Issue: 1. WON the term limit should apply prospectively and not retroactively.
2. WON it violates the equal protection of the law.
Ruling: SC affirmed the constitutionality of Section 2, paragraph 2 of Republic Act No. 9164:
1. No retroactive application was made because the three-term limit has been there all along
as early as the second barangay law (RA No. 6679-changed the two-term limit by providing for a
three-consecutive term limit). after the 1987 Constitution took effect; it was continued under the
LGC and can still be found in the current law.
2. No. The equal protection guarantee under the Constitution is found under its Section 2,
Article III, which provides: Nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws. Essen-
tially, the equality guaranteed under this clause is equality under the same conditions and among
persons similarly situated. It is equality among equals, not similarity of treatment of persons who
are different from one another on the basis of substantial distinctions related to the objective of the
law; when things or persons are different in facts or circumstances, they may be treated differently
in law.
Appreciation of how the constitutional equality provision applies inevitably leads to the
conclusion that no basis exists in the present case for an equal protection challenge. The law can
treat barangay officials differently from other local elective officials because the Constitution itself
provides a significant distinction between these elective officials with respect to length of term and
term limitation. The clear distinction, expressed in the Constitution itself, is that while the Constitu-
tion provides for a three-year term and three-term limit for local elective officials, it left the length
of term and the application of the three-term limit or any form of term limitation for determination
by Congress through legislation. Not only does this disparate treatment recognize substantial dis-
tinctions, it recognizes as well that the Constitution itself allows a non-uniform treatment. No equal
protection violation can exist under these conditions. From another perspective, we see no reason to
apply the equal protection clause as a standard because the challenged proviso did not result in any
differential treatment between barangay officials and all other elective officials.